Playing the role of me is not easy: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West

Kim Kardashian West seen in a scene from the trailer of Season 14 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Kim Kardashian West seen in a scene from the trailer of Season 14 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.PHOTO: E!

The reality television megastar and businesswoman sticks to the script in an interview, for which questions are vetted and many subjects kept off-limits

Kim Kardashian West's phone interview with The Straits Times to promote the 10th anniversary of her popular reality television show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, was a strictly monitored affair.

There was a long list of topics that were strictly off-limits. It read like a laundry list of everything that had contributed to her fame. These included the infamous 2007 sex tape with Ray J, which arguably kicked off her career; her string of marriages and divorces; her current husband, rap superstar Kanye West; her transgender step-parent Caitlyn Jenner, whom she has fallen out with; and her experience of being robbed at gunpoint in Paris last year.

Questions had to be sent to her in advance to be approved and ST's questions about her children - North, four, and Saint, who is almost two - were vetoed.

Such practices are not uncommon these days.

But surprisingly, when she eventually spoke to ST from her home in Los Angeles, California, she did not sound too rehearsed.

In fact, the Armenian American celebrity answered a question not on the list sent to her, about using the many platforms she has access to in the traditional and social media to get involved in topics such as the Armenian genocide and bigger national conversations.

Our family is so public and so open and if we're talking about it, maybe it makes it okay for others to talk about it as well.

KIM KARDASHIAN WEST on being proud of the Keeping Up With The Kardashians television show, including the moments that are hard to film

"I think it's amazing that we can use our voices, whether it's like back in the day in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit and the family refurnished a home, or us going to Armenia for the 100th anniversary of the genocide and getting people to recognise the genocide - those were things that were going on in our lives and were really close to our hearts," she says.

"I love having a platform where we can talk about (these things) and not only do we show all the craziness, but also real-life situations and helping other people. That's such a big part of (our) life."

The craziness she references is being part of the TV family that is the Kardashian clan, whose reality TV series, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, has enjoyed a decade of dominance. Its 14th season premieres next week.

The other players in this long-running dramedy of manners include matriarch and "momager" (a portmanteau of mom and manager) Kris Jenner, sisters Kourtney and Khloe, brother Robert and halfsisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner, who are the children Kris had with former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner, who is now Caitlyn Jenner after transitioning. Each has his own storyline, complete with plot twists, climaxes and plenty of drama.

Then there is the revolving door cast of boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, almost-husbands, friends, make-up artists, stylists, fellow celebrities and the like.

Kardashian West says: "People are interested in the show because there're so many of us. There's always something someone can relate to."

This is also a family that has not shied away from chronicling deeply personal matters such as break-ups, make-ups, weddings, births and even Caitlyn Jenner's transgender transition.

Kardashian West says she is proud of the show and even the moments that were hard to film.

"Our family is so public and so open - and if we're talking about it, maybe it makes it okay for others to talk about it as well. Even if it seems like it's something really hard to talk about at the time, I think as long as people can learn from it or it can help other people, then it's worth it."

Season 13, which aired from March to June this year, kicked off with her having to cope with the trauma and aftermath of being robbed at gunpoint during Paris Fashion Week.

It is no wonder she sounds relieved to talk about the upcoming Season 14.

"Every season has its own mood and last season was very dark and bleak," she says. "This season has a lot of surprises and a lot of things we didn't expect. I feel like we needed this after last season. I think everyone's going to love it."

With just days to the premiere of the new season, the rumour mill has already been churning that the youngest Kardashian sister, Kylie, 20, is pregnant with the child of rapper Travis Scott.

While members of the family have had times when they changed their minds about letting cameras follow them around 24/7, Kardashian West says "it's a blessing and such an amazing job" to have the show because "I get to work with my family every single day".

"Right now, if you were to ask me, I'd say I hope it never ends."

Then she adds, the show will end "when it stops being fun".

She has a large social media following (103 million on Instagram and 55.8 million on Twitter), makes constant high-profile red-carpet appearances and runs a kids' clothing line (Kids Supply) and a make-up business (KKW Beauty).

Does it ever get exhausting being Kim K?

"I feel very lucky that this is my life, I pinch myself still," she says, sticking to the script before revealing the slightest hint that all this is just a part that she plays to the outside world.

"On the daily, it's not maybe as easy as some people think, but I'm okay with that role - I'm having a good time."

•Season 14 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians premieres next week and airs on Monday at 9pm on E! (Singtel TV Channel 328 and StarHub Channel 441).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Kim Kardashian West, limited'. Print Edition | Subscribe